Worming in dogs (definition, types, tips)

You want to know more about worming in dogs? Then you are right here. We show you 6 worm types in detail, 3 important tips for deworming and answer the important questions on this topic. In addition, we have for this article Advice from veterinarian Mag.med.vet. Emin Jasarevic obtained. Note: This article is written for the german country. 

Dog worming cure
Table of Contents

"A regular worming cure has no preventive effect like a vaccination. So your dog having worms again two days after a course of treatment can happen."

If an infestation is diagnosed, decide with the veterinarian if a chemical worming treatment is necessary. There are also natural remedies that can be used for mild worm infestations. Sometimes a natural remedy may be sufficient.

6 worm types at a glance

Worm Varieties

Your pet can be affected by some types of worms. The main ones are:

  • Tapeworm
  • Roundworm
  • Hookworm
  • Heartworm
  • Whipworm
  • Lungworm
In individual cases, roundworms must also be treated.

1. tapeworm

The intermediate host of the tapeworm is, among others, the flea

The cucumber or pumpkin seed tapeworm occurs most frequently in dogs. It is distributed worldwide. Its intermediate hosts are the Flea or hair lice. The worm eggs enter the small intestine of the quadruped via the flea.

Approximately in 20 days they mature there to the tapeworm. They can grow 10 to 70 cm long and 2 to 3 mm wide.

With a good enough diet, your pet can tolerate some tapeworms in the intestine. Thus they often do not show symptoms and pose a low health risk. However, it can happen that the larval stages pierce the intestine and perform a body migration, which results in severe damage. Then organs outside the intestine are affected.


  • Indigestion, constipation,
  • Inertia
  • Sleepiness (lethargy)
  • disturbed immune system, susceptibility to diseases
  • Glossless coat
  • Severe itching in the anal area ("sledging", licking of the anal area)
The tapeworm can be transmitted by Fecal examinations be diagnosed. Your veterinarian will recommend appropriate treatment after the result depending on the severity of the infestation.

2. roundworm

The intermediate host of the roundworm are rodents

The roundworm, together with giardia, is by far the most common gastrointestinal parasite in our dogs.

The roundworm eggs are very resistant and can survive for several years. An adult roundworm can reach a length of 10 to 18 cm.

After the quadruped ingests the eggs, the larvae hatch. They bore into the intestinal wall and from there enter the blood vessels.

The bloodstream transfers them further to the liver and lungs. They then crawl down the trachea into the throat and the dog swallows them. This is how they get back into the intestine and mature into roundworms. They can lay thousands of eggs there per day.

Not all larvae reach the intestine again via the lungs and pharynx. Some nest in an organ and wait for a favorable moment such as pregnancy. Thus they continue their journey into the uterus or mammary glands.

Thus, the puppies are already infested with these worms in the womb.


  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea - mucous, sometimes bloody
  • bloated belly (Roundworm belly)
  • Growth disorders
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • recurrent fever
  • Cough, cold

The roundworm can be transmitted by Fecal examinations diagnosed. Your veterinarian will recommend an appropriate treatment for the infestation after the result.

Since especially puppies can die from roundworm, veterinarians recommend that newborn puppies from the second week onwards should be wormed regularly. Especially if the mother was previously diagnosed with roundworms.

3. hookworm

Hookworms reach a length of 3 to 18 mm. Unlike roundworms, it is not the eggs but the larvae that enter the dog's body. 

The migration in the body is similar to that of the roundworm. The mature hookworm bites into the intestinal wall and starts sucking blood there.

Hookworms can also enter the mammary gland of a pregnant bitch. There is no risk of infection of the puppies in the womb. This occurs after birth, when they suck on the mother.


  • Anemia, anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea, partly bloody
  • Constipation
  • dull coat
  • Pain in the gastrointestinal area
  • Cough
  • Skin inflammation, especially on the paws (due to larvae penetrating through the skin).
The hookworm can also be transmitted by Fecal examinations be diagnosed. Your veterinarian will then complete the proper treatment.

4. heartworm

The intermediate host of the heartworm is the mosquito

The mosquito is the intermediate host of the heartworm larva. In the adult stage, they can grow 20 to 30 cm long and up to 1 mm thick. The larvae migrate into the blood and lymph vessels and can reach the heart. They are particularly common in the right ventricle of the heart. There they develop into adult worms.

Infection can remain hidden for years. The symptoms develop insidiously:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Bronchial and respiratory problems
  • Weak heart
  • Glossless coat
  • Enlargement of the abdomen
  • Liver, lung, kidney damage
The diagnosis of heartworm is made by a Blood test. As long as there is no severe infestation, treatment with medication may be sufficient. 

If the worms are already in the heart, surgical intervention must also be expected.
These worms are common in southern countries. Therefore, as a preventive measure, it is important to clarify a trip there with your veterinarian. He will recommend suitable preparations that will protect your pet from the intermediate host, the mosquito.

5. whipworm

Whipworms are not as widespread as roundworms and hookworms. They grow to a length of 4 to 7 cm. In contrast to their long thin front part, the rear part is thick. This whip shape gave them their name.

After swallowing the eggs, they migrate directly to the intestine where they develop into adult worms. The worm penetrates the dog's intestinal mucosa with its thin front part and forms tunnel passages. There it feeds on tissue fluid and blood.


  • Blood in feces
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Licking the stomach area
  • Flatulence
  • Development delay
The whipworm can be caused by Fecal examinations diagnosed. Your veterinarian will treat your pet according to the severity of the infestation.

6. lungworm

The intermediate host of the lungworm is the snail

The lungworm is also known as "French heartworm". Depending on the genus, it can grow 1 - 2.5 cm long. It colonizes the lungs, airways and blood vessels of the dog. The intermediate host of the lungworm is the snail.

Your faithful companion can get infected by eating the snails. Or he can be infected by the blades of grass on which there was an infected snail.

Once the larva has landed in the dog, it travels through the bloodstream to the liver and lungs. Once in the lungs, the larva develops into the adult worm and lays eggs. 

Larvae hatch from these and move around in the lungs. This leads to irritation and inflammation in the lungs. By coughing, these larvae come into the throat and your quadruped swallows them down. This is how they get into the intestine. 

From there, they pass through the feces back into the free environment and to the next host.


  • Cough, partly bloody
  • increased coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Inertia
  • Nosebleed
  • Blue spots on the skin
  • Anemia
The lungworm can be transmitted by Fecal examinations or in the bronchial lavage fluid be diagnosed. Your veterinarian will recommend appropriate treatment after the result depending on the severity of the infestation.

3 Deworming tips

First of all, a little infographic that you should remember. After that, I'll show you how often you should deworm and what you absolutely have to pay attention to.

Wurmkur EN

How often should I deworm my dog?

Most veterinarians recommend deworming four times a year, 3 months apart.

Should your charge live with babies or older people, then more frequent deworming should be considered after consultation with the veterinarian. 

This protects seniors or babies. They have a poorer immune system and could become infected more quickly.

How often and when should I worm the puppy?

Dog worming cure

Deworming is important for puppies, especially in the beginning. Puppies can already be infected with roundworms in the womb and through the mother's milk.

Therefore, one can deworm here already with two weeks until the 8th week of life with 2 - 4 weeks interval. Subsequently, a monthly deworming is recommended until the 6th month of life. After that, a prophylactic deworming or a parasitological fecal examination should be done 2 - 4 times/year.

Chemical worming


Chemical worming treatments are generally administered every three months in adult quadrupeds.

Depending on the circumstances of life, the interval between cures may be shorter or longer. Thus, shorter intervals are recommended for dogs that live in the countryside and often have contact with carrion or mice.

Chemical worming treatments are available as tablets or spot-on preparations.

This is a dewormer for dogs and cats against lung, heart, tape, hook and roundworms. As active ingredients, the tablets have ingredients such as milbemycin oxime and praziquantel. The dosage depends on the age and weight of the animal. It can be done orally or through the feed.

Chemical wormers can thus kill parasites and worms in the intestine or bloodstream in the right dosage.

To make parasites die in the body, strong chemical agents are necessary, which unfortunately can have side effects for your protégé. 

These agents attack the intestinal flora. Thus, the healthy bacteria are also affected and harmful bacteria get the free space to multiply.

So it can happen that the intestinal flora loses its balance and your darling gets stomach and intestinal problems. Also the immune system and the liver can be burdened with it.

That's why it's important to give your hairy friend natural probiotics after the chemical treatment. This will quickly stabilize the intestinal flora. They will also help your furry friend rebuild his natural immune system.

Tip: The probiotic ingredients in Anifit - Power Intestine help the good intestinal bacteria to multiply. In contrast, the harmful intestinal bacteria are bound and excreted through the feces. Thus, the intestinal activity of your dog comes back on track.

Natural worming

Natural medicine

On the Internet and forums there are many discussions and recommendations about natural and homeopathic remedies. These products are intended to prevent worm infestation.

You should be careful here! 

Especially in homeopathic prescriptions derived only from the action of the plant itself. This is a wrong starting point. This is because a herbal remedy and the homeopathic remedy prepared from the plant do not necessarily have the same effect.

Here there is always the risk that our loved ones are treated too long on their own with a natural remedy in the event of an acute infestation. 

Whether these remedies are really effective and timely, are not entirely proven without further ado. A lot of time is lost and our faithful companions continue to suffer from the symptoms.

There are some home remedies that have proven effective

They have a supportive function and are very compatible. However, you should always stay in contact with your veterinarian and not act on your own. 

Natural home remedies include:

  • Coconut oil
    Over a few days, depending on the size of your pet, add ½ teaspoon to 1 tablespoon daily to the food. You can also use coconut flakes instead of oil.
  • Carrots or carrots
    If an infestation is present, you can feed your pelt nose more pureed or shredded carrots for a few days.
  • Peeled pumpkin seeds per 10 kg body weight add 1 tbsp. to the feed two to three times a day for a week.

In the meantime, some herbal worming cures in BIO quality have also proven themselves.

These means are tuned from the ingredients so that they can also work effectively. Since these are herbal remedies, the body of our loved ones is not as much burdened as with chemical remedies.

With these you should note that most of the remedies are not suitable for pregnant bitches

Our experience

No one wants to burden their dog for nothing!

Nevertheless, completely abandoning conventional medicine and turning only to herbal solutions is not always right.

Each dog is individual. Some are more susceptible, some are not. Some react quickly to treatment, some slowly. Also the environment, living conditions of a dog are very decisive in such a decision.

The best thing is to find the middle ground. 

With a regular parasitological fecal examination (every three months) you are on the safe side.

If your foster comes up negative in these fecal tests, the natural remedies can be used to hopefully keep him worm free.

However, if a worm infestation is detected in the fecal examination, you should discuss with your veterinarian whether chemical deworming is not the better choice.

If you proceed in this way, you will spare the intestinal flora and use chemical dewormers only as needed.

Please pay attention with the herbal remedies that there are still very few studies about the actual effect. Therefore, the manufacturer may only refer to a positive or supporting effect.

Here I recommend you to consult your veterinarian or an animal healer. Because they can better assess the individual circumstances and other factors.

Do you have any questions? How did your worming treatment go? We are looking forward to your experiences and opinions. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The three most common types of worms that can affect your dog include the tapeworm, roundworm, hookworm, heartworm, whipworm and lungworm.

Yes, worms can be transmitted from dogs to humans via feces. By applying hygiene measures, this risk can be minimized.

Puppies should be dewormed every month until they are six months old. After 6 months of age, it is sufficient to test for worm infestation every three months. If the test at the vet is positive, you should deworm your dog.

Symptoms vary according to the type of worms your dog is infested with. The most common symptoms include:

  • Indigestion, constipation,
  • Inertia
  • Sleepiness (lethargy)
  • disturbed immune system, susceptibility to diseases
  • Glossless coat
  • Severe itching in the anal area ("sledging", licking of the anal area)

The worms usually enter your dog's body through an intermediate host. In the case of the tapeworm, this is the flea, and in the case of the lungworm, it is the snail. Your dog comes into contact with the parasites mainly in nature.

Veterinarian’s Recommendation

The topic of worming dogs and cats is often neglected or underestimated. If your four-legged friend has worms, then there is a good chance that you can get them too.

If you want to keep your darling and you from parasites, then watch the video to the end and learn more!

Veterinarian Mag.med.vet. Emin Jasarevic
Veterinarian Mag.med.vet. Emin Jasarevic

I am a veterinarian and writer on animal health topics. Animals are my passion, and it is my personal goal to create medically accurate articles and videos to educate pet owners as much as possible.

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